Well, it’s been almost a year since this coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc across the world. With the vaccination drive starting this week in India, there is some good news, hopefully, things will be normal again. Come 16 January, India will join about 50 countries to offer vaccines against the coronavirus. The inoculation drive will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Here are the 10 big developments before India starts its biggest vaccination drive
1) Vaccine makers will be held liable for adverse effects
According to media reports, vaccine makers will be liable for any adverse effects during vaccination. The government did not accept their demand for granting immunity from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their vaccines. Last month, Serum Institute of India (SII) Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla had said vaccine manufacturers need to have protection against all lawsuits for vaccines, especially during a pandemic. Some countries like the US, UK and Canada have provided immunity to manufacturers from lawsuits and will bear the compensation burden.
2) Vaccination plan for the first phase
In the first phase, which will kickstart on 16 January, around 30 crore people will take the shots. For this, the government has designated four days of the week — Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. According to media reports, the cost for this phase could be around Rs 10,000 crore.
3) WHO asks SII for Covishield trial data
The World Health Organization (WHO) has asked Serum Institute of India (SII) for the clinical trial data of the AstraZeneca-OxfordUniversity Covid-19 vaccine Covishield for prequalification, so it can be evaluated and recommended for global use.
4) Covaxin, Covishield shipped across India
All 1.65 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines — 1.1 crores of Covishield and 55 lakh of Covaxin have been allocated to all states and UTs in proportion to their healthcare workers database.
5) Airlines make vaccine deliveries
Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, and GoAir carried doses of coronavirus vaccines and delivered them to New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow, and Chandigarh. Serum Insitute rolled out its vaccine the day before yesterday, Bharat Biotech shipped its first batch of homegrown vaccine from Hyderabad to Delhi on Wednesday.
6) Recipients cannot choose between Covishield and Covaxin
The vaccination drive will begin with two vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin. The recipients will not be given the option to choose between the two, the Union health ministry had said. They can get either of the two COVID-19 vaccines that have got emergency use approval in India.
7) COVID-19 vaccine dosing schedule
There will be a gap of 28 days between two doses of Covid-19 vaccine. The effectiveness of the vaccine would begin only after 14 days of receiving the second dose, Bhushan further added
8) Cost of COVID-19 vaccines
Serum Institute of India said that they would be supplying 1.1 crore doses to the central government at a fixed price of ₹200 per dose. Similarly, the first 55 lakh doses of Covaxin, procured by the government from Bharat Biotech, would cost ₹206 per dose.
9) Vaccines safe for inoculation
Covishield and Covaxin have been given emergency use authorisation after a high-level meeting going through established safety and immunogenicity through a well prescribed regulatory process.
10) Delhi: Shots 4 days a week at 81 centres
The Covid-19 vaccination programme will take place at 81 centres in the national capital on 16 January. As many as 100 people will be vaccinated at each of these locations per day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Thursday. Kejriwal also said: “We will begin with 81 centres, it will then be increased to 175 in a few days and then to 1,000 centres across Delhi.”
Pfizer’s vaccine was the first to get approval in the UK last month. The vaccine has not found its way into India due to the extremely low temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius required for storing the vaccine.